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‘ [118] he made a good intrenchment, and, by clearing
chap. V} 1754.
the bushes out of the meadows, prepared’ what he called ‘a charming field for an encounter.’ A small, light detachment, sent out on wagon-horses to reconnoitre, returned without being able to find any one. By the rules of wilderness warfare, a party that skulks and hides is an enemy. At night the little army was alarmed, and remained under arms from two o'clock till near sunrise. On the morning of the twenty-seventh, Gist arrived. He had seen the trail of the French within five miles of the American camp.

In the evening of that day, about nine o'clock, an express came from the Half-King, that the armed body of the French was not far off. Through a heavy rain, in a night as dark as can be conceived, with but forty men, marching in single file along a most narrow trace, Washington made his way to the camp of the Half-King. After council, it was agreed to go hand in hand, and strike the invaders. Two Indians, following the trail of the French, discovered their lodgment, away from the path, concealed among rocks. With the Mingo chiefs Washington made arrangements to come upon them by surprise. Perceiving the English approach, they ran to seize their arms. ‘Fire!’ said Washington, and, with his own musket, gave the example. That word of command kindled the world into a flame. It was the signal for the first great war of revolution. There, in the Western forest, began the battle which was to banish from the soil and neighborhood of our republic the institutions of the Middle Age, and to inflict on them fatal wounds throughout the continent of Europe. In repelling France from the basin of the Ohio, Washington

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